07/05/16 Camels in Durdevac

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Animal Friends Croatia responds to purchasing and bringing camels to Durdevac

- AFC appealed to the Mayor to reconsider the decision to buy camels

After learning about the decision to bring dromedaries to the City of Durdevac, Animal Friends Croatia appealed to Mayor Zeljko Lackovic. The association holds that the makers of such a big decision failed to take into account all segments and long-term costs of purchasing, transporting, opening a zoo, and lifelong keeping of camels for the City of Durdevac. It claims that except for exterior design and imitation sandy terrain, Durdevac in no way meets requirements of the dessert climate, thus not providing adequate living conditions for camels.

Besides ethical regulations, bringing camels to Croatia would also violate legal regulations because the current Animal Protection Act (Art. 53, para. 1) states: "It is prohibited to keep wild animals in circuses and use them in circus performances and other performances involving animals." The Act defines domestic animals as "animals tamed by man and used for the production of food, feed and animal by-products and for other economic purposes" (Art. 3, para. 5).

The aforementioned legal regulations make it clear that it's illegal to keep wild animals in Croatia and that in Croatia, camels and similar animals are not domestic but wild animals and so shouldn't even set hoof on Croatian soil. Consequently, not only would it be illegal to bring those camels to Croatia, but the public would also be sent the message that the City of Durdevac and other responsible institutions don't care about enforcing the Animal Protection Act, but are in fact blatantly violating it.

If the camels were to be "just" kept in captivity, they would have to be placed in a registered and approved zoo following all standards, EU directives and Croatian laws, which calls into question whether it's possible to fulfill all conditions and be cost effective. This requires exceptional long-term investments and maintenance―in other words, relentless and pointless spending of Durdevac citizens' money.

Animals used for mass entertainment are made to behave unnaturally, kept in inadequate conditions, forced into confinement, and there's nothing fun in the way that they're dealt with. Animal Friends Croatia maintains that the Mayor's role is to send a clear message to the citizens that he considers exploiting animals for profit or entertainment primitive and unacceptable in the 21st century.

It has been said that the only lesson that various centers with captive animals can teach us is that it's acceptable to keep animals in captivity, where they're bored to distraction and lonely, live in a confined space and far from their natural habitat, often causing them to show signs of psychotic or self-destructive behavior. The stress caused by confinement weakens their immune system, in spite of the alleged advantages of veterinary care and regular meals, which can cause illness or even death.

Animal Friends Croatia would like to suggest to the Mayor that instead of building a camel-prison and importing new animals into a city teeming with abandoned animals, it would be more prudent to invest the money into building a shelter, seeing as there isn't one in Durdevac despite the legal obligation under paragraphs 4 and 5 of Article 56, paragraph 2 of Article 57, and paragraphs 2 and 4, Article 58 of the Animals Protection Act. The units of local self-government have the obligation to found a shelter and implement programs needed for its proper functioning, such as advertising, adoption, spaying/neutering and citizens' education programs. In that respect, Animal Friends Croatia wants to offer cooperation to the Mayor to help animals and save money to the citizens of Durdevac.

The association says that they're certain that Mayor Lackovic will come through as a progressive mayor who is guided by and aspires to modern principles and is not afraid to make concrete and final decisions, such as the one about putting a stop to the plans for a new form of enslaving wild or domestic animals for entertainment.

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